In her first NRHA Futurity, Lauren King is the definition of an underdog. She earned her spot in the Open Level (L)1 & 2 Finals on Gunnafabulous with a 212.5 in the first go followed by a 216.5 in the semi-finals.
Although Lauren isn’t exactly new to reining, she’s been cutting her teeth as a professional alongside NRHA Two Million Dollar Rider Casey Deary. What started out as an internship has transformed into a budding career.
“I started showing in the IEA [Interscholastic Equestrian Association] in high school and moved on to the IHSA [Intercollegiate Horse Show Association] in college,” Lauren said. “Those were my first experiences riding reiners with the random draw, which was really fun. I learned so much from that, especially showmanship skills that I couldn’t have grown anywhere else.”
One summer Lauren had the opportunity to take a lesson with Casey and she jumped at the chance. Lauren was blown away by Casey as a horseman and everything that went into laying down a pattern.
“The experiences I had with reiners before was to just go fast and avoid getting penalties,” Lauren explained. “Casey really broke down the pieces for me and helped me understand the beauty and finesse of the sport. He’s such a great horseman and takes great care of his horses. I was really impressed.”
After college graduation, an internship opportunity cropped up and Lauren snagged it. That turned into a job and now Lauren’s been riding with the Deary clan for over two years.
If you see Lauren around the arena or in the show pen, you might notice an inscription on the side of her Shorty’s Caboy Hattery headwear. It’s Proverbs 21:31.
“The horse is made ready for the day of battle, but victory rests with the Lord.”
“I picked this one as a reminder for myself in the arena that I’ve worked hard and done my job, my horse is ready, and all I need to do is ride and the Lord makes a plan,” Lauren said. “It gives me a lot of confidence and peace of mind in there that He [the Lord] has my back and whatever happens is supposed to.”
Placing her faith in the Lord, even in the show pen, allows Laruen to see the bigger picture, even if things don’t turn out in her favor. She knows there’s always a lesson in a good or bad run and it can only make her better as a person and rider.
“My relationship with the Lord wasn’t really important until I spent some time with the Dearys and really began to appreciate their faith,” Lauren said. “It’s really all about loving each other and sharing that love, honor and respect with everyone. It’s been a big confidence booster in my life.”
The sorrel mare Lauren will ride in the open finals is owned by Debbie Good. And the duo has been together pretty much from the start.
“I started her as a 2-year-old, so I know her well,” Lauren said. “Casey has helped me a lot with her. She’s just a happy, talented little mare. As long as I do my job, she’s going to be there for me.”
Lauren showed her in Tulsa in the developing futurity as well as in Ardmore, Oklahoma, in the rookie pro classes.
“We won a few times there [Ardmore] and that gave me a lot of confidence to come here and put a pattern together,” Lauren said. “I just want to thank my team and NRHA for hosting these shows and giving us the opportunity to get in the show pen this year.”